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Rural Project Examples: Health disparities

Effective Examples

Kentucky Homeplace
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: Rural Appalachian Kentucky residents have deficits in health resources and health status, including high levels of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and diabetes.
  • Intervention: Kentucky Homeplace was created as a community health worker initiative to address the lifestyle choices, inadequate health insurance, and environmental factors that are believed to contribute to these diseases.
  • Results: From July 2001 to June 2019, over 166,464 rural residents were served. Preventive health strategies, screenings, educational services, and referrals are all offered at no charge to clients.
Hidalgo Medical Services – Family Support Program
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To reduce health disparities in two rural/frontier counties in southwest New Mexico.
  • Intervention: Community health workers work with clients to help them better manage their health and promote awareness of healthy lifestyle options in the community.
  • Results: Better health outcomes for patients.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Health-able Communities Program
Added March 2019
  • Need: Expand healthcare access for the more remote residents of 3 frontier counties in north central Idaho.
  • Intervention: Consortium of healthcare providers and community agencies used a hybrid Community Health Worker model to augment traditional healthcare delivery services in order to offer a diverse set of healthcare offerings to frontier area residents.
  • Results: Increased healthcare access, especially for cancer and chronic disease screening, along with providing education on a diverse array of health topics.
Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs)
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • Need: People in rural New Mexico often found it difficult to find and utilize needed resources from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).
  • Intervention: UNMHSC created Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs), in which HERO agents live in the communities they serve, help identify health and social needs, and link them with UNMHSC and other university resources.
  • Results: In their regions, HERO agents' activities have been diverse, including recruiting physicians, mobilizing research funds to address local priorities, working on economic development, training laypeople in Mental Health First Aid, and helping local institutions access UNMHSC resources.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Garrett County Regional Cancer Patient Navigator Program
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • Need: Comprehensive cancer services for residents of an 8-county, 3-state area in Appalachia.
  • Intervention: Using a Cancer Patient Navigation Tool Kit, a Maryland acute care facility led a multidisciplinary collaboration that provided the area's patients with expanded cancer treatment services.
  • Results: In addition to several new cancer-related programs, expanded services are now available for cancer patients, families, and cancer survivors.
HealthStreet Cognitive Screening Project
Added March 2020
  • Need: Because of the benefits associated with early identification of conditions causing memory problems, Florida's rural populations will benefit from access to screening for possible Alzheimer's Disease and other types of dementia.
  • Intervention: A state university uses a state health department grant to develop a cognitive impairment screening program implemented by rural Community Health Workers. An additional grant provides rural medical practitioners with a free online continuing education module covering cognitive impairment and dementia.
  • Results: To date, over 400 individuals have completed health screenings and over 900 referrals have been made to community social and medical services. At grant cycle completion, formal analysis of cognitive screening and referral to medical services will be shared.